Tuesday, 1st November, 2022

[Day 960]

November was heralded last night by some exceptionally strong winds and heavy rain and much of this persisted throughout the day. Having picked up our newspaper, we battled our way through the rain in the Waitrose carpark and even had to resort to an umbrella to ensure that we were not absolutely soaked on our way into the cafe. There, we met up with seasoned World Traveller and one of our regular pre-pandemic regulars and we enjoyed our weekly chat. We chatted about how our friend quite regularly played bowls and she was telling me about a recent match with a team from Solihull which the Bromsgove team expected to lose but actually won, much to the disgust of their opponents who responded by handing out a heap of sarcastic comments. They also say that croquet can be a vicious game with many undercurrents but I have never played the game so all of this is news to me. Finally, we made our way home and then I prepared for my weekly Pilates class which involved battling with the elements again. It was not too bad walking down to my class but the heavans seemed to open when the class was over so it was a pretty unpleasant walk home. The afternoon turned out not to be a restful one because as soon as lunch was completed and the dishes washed up and put away then our hairdresser came along, quite promptly, and Meg was due to have a perm which actually takes up a lot of the afternoon. We commiserated with our hairdresser whose father had died yesterday afternoon. Hw was a ripe old 96 year old and his death was anticipated but it is always a bit of a shock when the event actually occurs.

There is some news emerging this evening which suggests that Boris Johnson is courting several ‘speakers circuits’ which, if he is engaged and carries on with a variety of speeches for several years, could generate him an income of millions of pounds. I suspect that as he a supreme narcissist, Boris Johnson would not welcome a re-entry into the British political scene if it were not possible for him to be top dog anymore. Given the likely defeat of the Conservatives in the next election in two years time and then a possible ten years in opposition, I do not see Boris Johnson as being at all attracted to this type of political role so it would not surprise me if he were to walk away from British politics. Meanwhile, in the domestic British scene, a lot of attention is bing directed towards the feisty performance of Suella Braverman in the House of Commons yesterday. She actually gave vent to an infamous phrase the effect that the public needs to know which party is serious about ‘stopping the invasion’ of migrants on the southern coast of the UK. The use of the word ‘invasion’ has generated howls of protest but there is a massive political divide at work here. Members of the ERG (members of the European Research Group) who crowded in to the Commons yesterday to give support to the Home Secretary were ecstatic about the use of the use of the phrase whereas the counter-reaction was that this was deliberately inflammatory language designed to appeal to certain sections of the electorate. Even Braverman’s own deputy, the immigration minister Robert Jenrick has argued that he would not use language like this which has the effect of demonising some very distressed migrants.

The population as a whole are being ‘softened up’for some very wide ranging tax increases in the forthcoming budget in just over two weeks time. The Treasury has let if be known that they have ‘agreed on the principle that those with the broadest shoulder should be asked to bear the greatest burden’ and this effectively stamps out Liz Truss’s trickle-down economics. A further warning is being given that ‘given the enormity of the challenge, it is inevitable that everybody would need to contribute more in tax in the years ahead’ So it is pretty evident that a fairly hostile reaction is going to be expected from the nation’s elite but they have had it pretty good during the last twelve years of a conservative governnment and can probably stand the pain. One way or another, the country has got to find some £40-£50 billion and evidently this has got to come from somewhere if it cannot be borrowed. Although the public sector has already been cut to the bone, there is chatter of still more public sector cuts, probably to be achieved by only offering pay rises of 2% (when the inflation rate is 10%, so an effective 8% cut in pay).

Attention next week will switch to the American mid-term elections in a society which is bitterly divided. It is possible that the Republicans will be able to take control of both the House of Representatives and also the Senate which will make any Democratic legislation almost impossible to achieve in the next two years. The Republicans, many of whom believe that Trump was defrauded of the last Presidential election, are also seizing control of the electoral machine in various states which means that the Reublican party will control all aspects of the eletoral processes and even deny their own State legislators any oversight in the case of either fraud, malfeasance or voter suppression (which is quite likely in Republican controlled areas)